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AMD Upgrades Hardware

AMD Phenom II Available To Distributors This Week 114

Posted by timothy
from the making-my-computers-feel-even-slower dept.
jdb2 writes "Fudzilla reports that AMD's Phenom II is already available to distributors, and will be available to sell to consumers in the week of the 29th of December. The Phenom II is AMD's consumer version of its 'Shanghai' 45 nanometer SOI process Quad-core Opteron chip and will reportedly ship in 3 and 2.8 gigahertz flavors corresponding to the model numbers '940' and '920' respectively. This first release will be packaged as a Socket AM2+ part which only supports DDR2 memory. The following month AMD is reportedly going to release a new '9x5' series of Socket AM3 versions which support DDR3 memory — these will be backward compatible with Socket AM2+ . This may be an inflection point for AMD if the Shanghai architecture lives up to the performance numbers from preliminary reports and if so it will no doubt also be a welcome belated Christmas present for the already salivating hordes of Tech Junkies."
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AMD Phenom II Available To Distributors This Week

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  • First Post (Score:2, Funny)

    by fotoguzzi (230256)
    Using new AMD processor.
  • by LWATCDR (28044) on Saturday December 27, 2008 @10:32PM (#26246197) Homepage Journal

    You can get a good AM2+ motherboard for under $100. DDR2 is cheap, and the price point for these CPUS is looking pretty good.
    I doubt that they will beat an I7 but they may offer a great bang for the buck. Even before these came out AMD offered the best value in the good enough category.
    You would be hard pressed to find a better value than one of the BE X2s on a 780G motherboard for an average user.

    • by Shikaku (1129753)

      It will also drive the prices of their older CPUs down. Everybody wins!

    • by kwabbles (259554) on Saturday December 27, 2008 @11:14PM (#26246407)

      You can get a good AM2+ motherboard for under $100. DDR2 is cheap, and the price point for these CPUS is looking pretty good.

      My primary home machine is an AM2+ Phenom 9950 BE overclocked to 3.0GHz. The Phenoms are easily overclocked using stock cooling - I spent only $900 on this machine including a 9800 GTX GPU, 2GHz 1066mhz RAM, and a WD Raptor HDD - and this box hauls ass. It easily smokes most Intel quad boxes I've seen that cost several hundred more.

      I'll always run Intel on servers and what not - but for a workstation/desktop you can't go wrong with AMD. Hell, now that I think about it - I've had more stability problems with Intel than I've had with AMD. I guess it's time to re-think my server platforms.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 28, 2008 @05:23AM (#26247897)

        "It easily smokes most Intel quad boxes I've seen that cost several hundred more."

        Except, it doesn't smoke any Intel Quad, at all. That CPU is about the same speed as the *2 year old* Q6600 at stock speed (couple hundred extra MHz but less cache). Both overclock VERY similarly too. Almost no differences in benches all-around. Unless you were comparing your OC'ed CPU to a stock Intel, which is just as true as saying a Q6600 (once OC'ed) smokes every Phenom out there at any price point (at stock speed). In fact, it's more like your box gets smoked by an Intel that costs one hundred more...

        The only real difference here, is that your new CPU uses significantly more power. The $20 you saved, you'll pay 10x back in extra power used.

        It's kinda sad to see AMD's latest best offering that's 2 months old barely managing to compete with a 2 year old chip...

        "I'll always run Intel on servers and what not - but for a workstation/desktop you can't go wrong with AMD."

        Actually, it's EXACTLY the inverse! Opterons have always been much nicer: HT bus, NUMA architecture and everything else, up until now, with Intel's QPI bus. The funny thing is, now that it's going to start not sucking (Xeons), you're switching away from it? And on the desktop, Core 2 is just much better. You got it all COMPLETELY backwards!

        • by kwabbles (259554)

          Except, it doesn't smoke any Intel Quad, at all.

          Actually, it does. The i7 way outperforms the Phenoms - but I'm talking the old "Core" quad line.

          You see, with the i7's - Intel actually got around to doing it right: true monolithic cores, and integrated memory controllers. AMD has been doing this for a while now. When you look at overall performance including memory access and peripheral/bus access - the Phenoms were ahead of the old Intel quads (which were just hacked-together dual core CPUs).

          Unless you

          • by aliquis (678370)

            When you look at overall performance including memory access and peripheral/bus access - the Phenoms were ahead of the old Intel quads (which were just hacked-together dual core CPUs).

            So what when they still owned AMD cpus in any application/game benchmark (sure you may find a single one for some database server or whatever where AMD took the lead but there will be few scenarios. Fact is Intel perform better stock, waste less energy and overclock better.)

            I was.

            Why? Compare stock 9950 vs Q6600 or overclocked 9950 vs Q6600.

            Intel works harder, AMD works smarter

            Or maybe take a look at the PPC970?

            Smarter indeed but who gives a fuck when it can't deliver? :D

        • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Well preliminary reports of the Phenom II look pretty promising. An OC'd Phenom II 940 at 3.85 GHz scored a 5,086 on 3DMark06[1]. While a Core i7 Extreme 965 CPU OC'd at 3.8 GHz scored a 6,608[2]. Now consider the Phenom II 940 is a AM2+ chip without a DDR3 controller which requires no motherboard upgrade for alot of people. Also the Phenom II 940 has been price ranged about ~$300[3] while the i7 965E costs $1,012.99[4] plus the motherboard/memory upgrade.

          Just on 3DMark06/CPU cost ratio alone you get:

          AMD 16

          • by aliquis (678370)

            Looks like AMD is back.

            As long as you ignore that they have no processor which get even close to the Intel offering or decide to compare the AMD chip to the price of a Intel chip with the same performance ...

        • "I'll always run Intel on servers and what not - but for a workstation/desktop you can't go wrong with AMD."

          Actually, it's EXACTLY the inverse! Opterons have always been much nicer: HT bus, NUMA architecture and everything else, up until now, with Intel's QPI bus.

          Indeed. I work for a high-endish network appliance shop, and the AMD Opterons have been the clear choice for us - having per-CPU memory controllers is such a massive performance gain when you're running memory I/O bound processes. We would've l

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by afidel (530433)
        I run AMD on my highest demand boxes because the Hypertransport bus kicks the everloving crap out of a slow FSB for memory sharing between processors. I'm in good company, the NYSE runs much of their infrastructure on HP DL585's running linux. For high throughput processing on commodity hardware it's hard to beat. Intel might catch up around 2H'09 when they bring out the multiprocessor version of the i7.
      • by aliquis (678370)

        Yeah go smoke that Q9550 ..

        Or eventually even the Q6600..

        • by kwabbles (259554)

          Unfortunately there's no way to verify reading comprehension prior to comment submittal.

    • by Deagol (323173)

      Hey, maybe you can offer some advice for someone who's been out of the purchasing loop for a while. I'm too busy to bother buying components, and I want to order a half-decent system w/o an OS (I run FreeBSD) that's ready to go. I'm due for an upgrade this year and I think I'll have a decent enough tax return to make it happen.

      Currently, I have a AMD64 3200+ (2.0GHz), 4GB, 320GB HD. I usually try to wait until I can quadruple my main specs for a reasonable outlay of cash, and I think the time may be righ

      • by LWATCDR (28044)

        I tend to build my own and I use Linux not BSD. I would look at at a 780G board. I have had good luck with Asus.
        The good news is that work on the GPL ATI drivers is comming right along. Hopefully that will help BSD as well

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Junta (36770)

        Don't know about affordably getting to 16GB in a single socket board. Most boards in that space have 4 dimm slots and 4 GB dimms are relatively expensive. I don't know about the shuttle cases, I don't require that small a packaging and I have historically found larger cases more convenient for maintenance and thermal management (and expense of repairs, blowing a power supply in a weird form factor sucks). If you get AMD graphics, you may have some 3D capability in BSD (nVidia too maybem but options are m

        • by GPSguy (62002)

          I expect DDR3 to come in real expensive in real sizes. I suspect the original poster for this subthread isn't giving us all the requirements, but I don't see 16GB in a home machine anytime soon (I'm still doing a lot of useful work with servers in 8GB). I'm partial to Linux and have done a lot with the nVidia hardware of late for 3d, recommend that for a solution. With Linux, requires the "tainted" nVidia drivers, but damn, does it scream.

          • by Junta (36770)

            Depends, if the DDR3 manufacturers ramp up, it could come down to earth. Either way, I wouldn't count on 4GB DIMMs.

            On nVidia, I am using it, but my AMD system is now behaving sane (the binary drivers aren't terrible anymore, the open drivers for R500 are 'ok' for compiz and the like. The nVidia drivers on the other hand seem to have been causing me problems (compiz title bar and window corruption at scale I don't see with the ATI/AMD drivers, some weird hiccups on 3D apps).

      • I usually try to wait until I can quadruple my main specs for a reasonable outlay of cash, and I think the time may be right.

        Unless you're willing to wait 5-8 years now... the days of quadrupling your main specs are gone. CPU performance no longer doubles every 15 months.

        Beyond that... I have a Phenom X4 at home. It competes favorable with Intel products that would have cost about the same amount. (Quite frankly, I don't give a rat's ass about CPUs that cost more then $300.)

        8GB is probably afforda
    • by aliquis (678370)

      Even before these came out AMD offered the best value in the good enough category.

      No. In the budget category? Yes.

      Some people may consider the budget category good enough but in the "best bang for the buck" category Intel leads somewhat.

  • I want one :)

    Please sign me up!

    • These folks [shopblt.com]look like they are about to start selling them. They have been saying they are due in stock today for a week now. I have no experience with them, so caveat emptor. The guy from Newegg I asked last night couldn't tell me when they would have stock. But I do notice a distinctive downward trend in Phenom X4 9xxx processors here in the last couple of days. Might be a clue.
  • 125 watts! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mikedep333 (1432269)
    According to wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_future_AMD_Phenom_microprocessors [wikipedia.org] It uses 125 Watts of power! The hot & noisy prescott was around 100 watts. I think I'll go with a nice 95 watt core 2 quad, or the upcoming c2q model at 65 watts.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      TDP != power usage. it might draw that (or more even), but its not necessarily drawing that on average.

      It's the max expected under normal conditions for thermal dissipation.

    • Re:125 watts! (Score:5, Informative)

      by Ecuador (740021) on Saturday December 27, 2008 @11:50PM (#26246545) Homepage

      Let me remind you that the Prescott was 103 Watts (@3.2GHz) for *ONE* *SLOW* core.
      Any comparison between that Netburst crap and today's processors from both companies is absurd.
      That said, Intel is currently ahead in the game in both max performance and TDP, so Phenom is good for existing AM2+ upgrades or for more "budget conscious" scenarios. For the sake of all of us I hope AMD catches up (I am old enough to remember CPU prices from when Intel had no competiti).
      In any case you should be more worried about the current graphics cards that tend to require twice the power of the CPU... :)

    • Re:125 watts! (Score:5, Informative)

      by florescent_beige (608235) on Sunday December 28, 2008 @12:05AM (#26246639) Journal

      Always remember AMD measures power consumption differently from Intel, AMD's number is more like a max envelope value while Intel's numbers are a type of average.

      These guys [google.com] found that a 45nm engineering Phenom II drew 24W less than a 9600 under load.

      We have both Phenoms and C2Qs at work and I don't notice any difference in the noise. Maybe I would at home where it's quieter.

      • Concur.. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Junta (36770) on Sunday December 28, 2008 @01:06AM (#26246869)

        In fact, we deal with both AMD and Intel servers, and under benchmarking conditions, we allegedly make the Intel parts exceed TDP.

        The problem is that TDP became a marketing point and thus Intel abandoned the original intent. It was supposed to allow systems vendors to plan how many CFM and how good a heat sink would be needed to dissipate all the heat in a worst case scenario. To AMD's credit, they have a metric they call 'ACP' to indicate their analogous figure to Intel's TDP. I like that better in theory than just abandoning TDP.

        That said, for Intel and AMD, I wonder what they consider 'typical' loads. In the end, a breakdown of what clock speeds and what percentage of time is in C1 and such would be appreciated to know what to expect. Knowing what the CPU uses at each clock, with about 0% of time in sleep states and near 100% would let me compare a bit better than a single oversimplified number.

        • by j1m+5n0w (749199)

          The real important number that we don't see reported very often, is what does the CPU consume when idle? I just got a 4-core phenom, and it sits at about 120 watts all day long, which is about the same as my athlon x2 which preceded it. Of course, it goes up to 200 watts or so when I'm really stressing the CPU, but as far as the power bill goes that's pretty irrelevant if I'm not crunching numbers all day long.

          (I have a strange power supply that I found at a garage sale that's conveniently equipped with

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Chandon Seldon (43083)

      I think I'll go with a nice 95 watt core 2 quad, or the upcoming c2q model at 65 watts.

      How much power does the off-chip memory controller draw on that 95-watt core 2 quad?

    • Re:125 watts! (Score:5, Informative)

      by Junta (36770) on Sunday December 28, 2008 @01:14AM (#26246903)

      Though still not perfect, you'd have to compare Intel TDP numbers to AMD 'ACP' numbers. Intel screwed with the point of TDP for marketing purposes and they have the leverage with OEMs to pretty much do as they damn well please, even if it makes OEM life harder.

      Secondly, the Core2 isn't comparable in featureset. Notably, it requires a memory controller on motherboard which tends to have a significant amount of power in and of itself. So you'll have to jump to Core i7 parts, which currently advertise a 130W TDP, presumably largely in part due to bringing the controller in.

      Thirdly, the current gen phenoms even include 65W parts at reduced clock. I would not doubt that, if not at launch, shortly thereafter lower-wattage parts will come out. Even if not, underclocking may be an option.

      All said and done, AMD has something kind of compelling in various ways. I don't think it will take back the performance lead, but Intel is taking some hits in trying to get an equivalent architecture together. Will have to wait for AM3 to have complete apples-to-apples benchmarks for i7 and Phenom II, but I don't think it will be that much closer than it is today.

      • Thirdly, the current gen phenoms even include 65W parts at reduced clock. I would not doubt that, if not at launch, shortly thereafter lower-wattage parts will come out. Even if not, underclocking may be an option.

        For regular desktops at work, we're becoming very enamored with the 45W AMD parts. Those PCs are almost absolutely silent, especially when under a desk (Antec Sonata II cases).

        I'm even considering switching over to 2.5" laptop drives inside to save another 5-8W. And probably make the system
    • Considering that the BeagleBoard is fast enough for a lot of casual users and draws 1.8W for the entire system, I really do wonder what the other 100W or so gets you. If I want speed at any cost, POWER6 is more attractive. If I want good performance-per-Watt, the Cortex A8 line is more attractive. Unless you want to run Windows, there doesn't seem to be much attraction in x86 chips anymore.
      • by afidel (530433)
        Performance per dollar, duh. POWER6 might be great chip but they go into IBM servers that cost an absolute fortune, we had IBM come in and price out a scalable box for our ERP system and they came in at 3x what the HP/Windows and Sun/Solaris offerings were priced at!
      • Unless you want to run Windows, there doesn't seem to be much attraction in x86 chips anymore.

        I don't want to run Windows OS; I want to run Windows apps, and Wine is still not an emulator. Besides, if x86 chips were so unattractive, why did Apple switch from POWER to x86?

    • by aliquis (678370)

      And now some people will inform you how Intel and AMD measures their peak watts differently and how AMD chipsets (atleast pre i7) have consumed less energy (I have no idea how much of that is true.)

  • Inflection? (Score:4, Funny)

    by florescent_beige (608235) on Sunday December 28, 2008 @01:12AM (#26246891) Journal

    This may be an inflection point for AMD...

    An inflection is where the 2nd derivative of a function changes sign ie the curvature is zero.

    I think the summary meant minima, that's where the first derivative is zero if the curve is smooth. That would mean it changes from going down to going up.

    Unless we are talking about AMD's rate of change of growth which could go from shrinking faster and faster to shrinking slower and slower at an inflection. I guess that could be seen as a good thing these days for them.

    Slow day I'll go away now.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by jdb2 (800046) *

      This may be an inflection point for AMD...

      An inflection is where the 2nd derivative of a function changes sign ie the curvature is zero.

      I think the summary meant minima, that's where the first derivative is zero if the curve is smooth. That would mean it changes from going down to going up.

      Err, no shit sherlock. :) You probably mean no offense, but I've been studying advanced mathematics ( at the graduate/doctoral level now ) for over a decade.

      Anyway, I meant inflection point.

      If you take AMD's health as a function of time , say , h(t), then for the past year or more the derivative has been negative, and growing more negative. If the Phenom II launch is indeed the catalyst for an AMD "turn around", then naturally the derivative h'(t) will reverse sign and begin to increase. This repre

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by afaiktoit (831835)
        I feel like I've stepped into an XKCD comic.
      • so wrong (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I've been studying advanced mathematics ( at the graduate/doctoral level now ) for over a decade.

        Most graduate programs I've seen require completion of the degree for which one is a candidate within 5 years, maybe 6. The reader may reasonably infer from your claim that a) you've had enough time to earn such a degree twice over, and b) that you have not done so because having done so would give you an honest claim even greater than the one you've actually made here. I fully realize that the question of having such a degree is orthogonal to the question of possessing competence-- period--, and this illus

        • by jdb2 (800046) *

          I've been studying advanced mathematics ( at the graduate/doctoral level now ) for over a decade.

          Most graduate programs I've seen require completion of the degree for which one is a candidate within 5 years, maybe 6. The reader may reasonably infer from your claim that a) you've had enough time to earn such a degree twice over, and b) that you have not done so because having done so would give you an honest claim even greater than the one you've actually made here.

          The reader may also reasonably infer from your statements about my level of education and my honesty wherein you imply that I'm a fraud in the former and a liar in the latter that you've started out your "argument" with a baseless directed personal attack, which, in the light of your posting anonymously, lends great credence to the possibility that you are a hypocritical Troll.

          Also, the fact that you put forth an extremely narrow definition of the verb "to study" raises the question of whether you have a

          • by jdb2 (800046) *

            It's not very interesting to note that there will be an inflection point before h'(t) goes positive if h''(t) is negative,

            What is interesting is that unless the real world function has an infinite domain or range, which in this case it doesn't -- companies exist for a finite time, one might say everything does -- h''(t) must be negative sometime if the company experiences a downturn.

            That is, assuming the company doesn't start out in a downturn ie. its existence is one big downturn shaped eg. like an upside-down parabola and also assuming realistic behavior eg. no perfectly linear growth etc.

  • Wait for 95Watt AM# (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kolbe (320366) on Sunday December 28, 2008 @01:45AM (#26247041) Homepage

    AMD is standing behind and embracing the AM3 socket, the main feature of which is the addition DDR 3 memory support.

    It should be noted that AMD has previously stated that while Socket AM3 processors will work in Socket AM2/AM2+ motherboards, not all AM2/AM2+ processors will be supported by AM3 motherboards. By this time the price of DDR3 RAM might have fallen to a point where itâ(TM)s affordable.

    With Intel changing sockets like its going out of style, AMD has done an excellent job making their products extremely compatible between generations. As such, it's kept many "budget" PC builders somewhat loyal, including myself.

    If you buy one of the current AM2+ socketed Phenom II CPU's, you have a very good chance that you will be able to throw it in a new AM3 socket motherboard when they come out before March'09.

    None the less, I'm a fickle fool and will wait until AM3 is out... what's 2 more months anyway?

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